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Vampire Hunter D:Bloodust an Anime DVD bridging the Horror, Sci-Fi & Western genres!

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Vampire Hunter D:Bloodust an Anime DVD bridging the Horror, Sci-Fi & Western genres!

Old 03-07-02, 09:50 PM
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Vampire Hunter D:Bloodust an Anime DVD bridging the Horror, Sci-Fi & Western genres!

Two nights ago, I rewatched VAMPIRE HUNTER D: BLOODLUST (VHDB): the first time being the street date of 2-12-02. This DVD sports a 1.85:1 anamorphic transfer that is beautiful & breathtaking. The 5.1 audio is also excellent, very aggressive and uses all six speakers for the length of the film. Nice score by Marco D'Ambrosio too.

This is an anime film that is chock full of horror, sci-fi and Western elements.

Spoiler:
The film opens up with intertitles that state "in the distant future ... Vampires rule the night," and when the opening credits end you realize that you're in outer space and have been looking down at the Earth as you witness a satellite/spaceship of gothic design passing across the screen.

Immediately, the film cuts to a lone character on horse, dwarfed in a Leonesque desert landscape, approaching a ruined church. This character is "D", a sword toting bounty hunter who combines Clint Eastwood's "Man with no name" modus operandi of the less said the better, with the sword fighting skills of Toshiro Mifune's Sanjuro. Inside the church is the father of a young woman who has been kidnapped by a vampire, Meier Link, who likes to travel in a horse driven stagecoach. Besides Leone, we are already seeing elements of Westerns like Ford's The Searchers and Mann's Naked Spur.

In addition to being a bounty hunter, D is a Dunpeal, half human & half vampire with special powers. He agrees, after turning down $10,000,000, to go after the girl and to bring her back home for $20,000,000.

The father has already hired the Markus Brothers (or my preferred spelling "Marquez"), ala Richard Brooks' The Professionals, to go after the girl too. The Marquez Bros like to traverse the desert in a contraption that looks like a Road Warriorized locomotive RV, with a Mad Max motorcycle attached to it. Next in something out of the Wild Wild West meets the Road Warriors meets NOTLD, we see the Marquez Bros, using all their sci-fi accoutrement, fight a mob of Zombies on their way to Meier Link's estate to rescue the young maiden.


BUT ENOUGH OF THE STORYLINE ...

Of VHDB's Western elements, director Yoshiaki Kawajiri has stated*, "I like Western movies very much. I think you could feel that at some points of the movie - especially at the horse stable scene. This is a very typical scene in a Western movie. I sneaked in my personal taste there a little bit." Other Western elements include barroom showdowns, lynch mob scenes, lots of horses, and shotgun & pistol play ala The Wild Bunch.

Horror elements include plenty of zombies, werewolves, gargoyles, and vampires, including a female vampire that references Le Fanu's "Carmilla" & Elizabet Barthory. There are also references to Poe's "Fall of the House of Usher" and Wilde's "Portrait of Dorian Gray."

Sci-Fi elements, among many, include spaceships & rockets for space travel to "The City of the Night," gothic satellite/space stations, binoculars and glasses that have lenses which provide computerized digital read outs for the wearer/viewer.

Finally, all the Horror/Sci-Fi/Western references aside, this film is gorgeous and combines elements of Art Noveau, Art Deco, and the Gothic. Additionally, the DVD's 1.85:1 anamorphic transfer is beautiful & breathtaking. There are static shots of Daliesque desert landscapes, Ballardesque industrial ruins, and gnarled architecture that looks like Gaudi's La Sagrada Familia after a nuclear holocaust. Kawajiri seems to have a thing( almost fetishes bordering on the Buñuelesque), for gothic churches with flying buttresses, bridges with arches, suspension bridges that span long expanses through ravines connecting mountains, as there are myriads of churches, bridges and any kind of architecture that uses arches throughout the film. The 5.1 audio is also excellent, very aggressive and uses all six speakers for the length of the film. Nice score by Marco D'Ambrosio too.

cheers, Tony Block

*taken from the DVD featurette on the making of the film.

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